Harrell gets PIE Grant

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vicki Harrell, family and consumer science teacher at Southside High School, recently won a $750 PIE Grant for her project on shaken baby syndrome.

The money will be used to purchase technologically advanced infant simulators to show the devastating brain damage that occurs after just a few seconds of shaking an infant.

The infant simulators cry inconsolably, just like real infants do. When a simulator is shaken, accelerometers inside the head measure the force on the brain and corresponding LED lights immediately show damage to specific areas of the brain in real time. The cries may also stop abruptly to show that the simulated infant is unconscious or dead.

Shaken baby syndrome is often fatal and can cause severe brain damage, resulting in lifelong disabilities. Up to half of the deaths related to child abuse are reportedly caused by shaken baby syndrome.